Lewis Hamilton takes dominant 79th pole on the streets of Singapore
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News September 15, 2018 Updated: 11:36 AM PT
MARINA BAY, Singapore — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton put the hammer down to take his 79th career pole position ahead of Max Verstappen in Saturday's qualifying for the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s dominant performance gave resulted in pole number 79 for the four-time champion, which came as a surprise to many. Hamilton finished with a time of 1:36.015 and was 0.319s ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in second and 0.613s faster than the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel in third. This also makes Hamilton’s fourth pole in Singapore and equals Sebastian Vettel for most poles at the Marina Bay Circuit.
“That lap just started perfect and it just kept going – it felt magical,” said Hamilton. “It felt like one of the best – if not the best lap I’ve ever done. It’s what my brother and me would call a ‘sexy lap’. I only had that one lap in me today, I just couldn’t go any faster afterwards.
This track is all about confidence, confidence in your braking points and the stability of the car, you only have a few laps to build your steps towards it. As soon as you lose it, it’s very hard to build back up to it. So I’m grateful that I had the extra two laps on the HyperSofts in Q2 as I could try and understand the tire a bit more. In Q3, it really felt like each corner was on the limit, but no more, I didn’t have any wheel spin or any of that. I think the races have generally been quite strong for me this year, so I hope this will continue tomorrow,” he said.
Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas started alongside Vettel on the second row in fourth. Bottas missed third by 0.074s but was able hold off Kimi Raikkonen by 0.092s in fifth.
Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth ahead of Sergio Perez for Force India in seventh. Haas’ Romain Grosjean will start eighth ahead of the second Force India of Esteban Ocon in ninth and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg in tenth.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso finished 11th after missing the top ten by 0.107s as races tick down for the two time champion who will leave the sport at the end of the season.
Carlos Sainz finished 12th and will replace Alonso next season at McLaren. Sauber driver Charles Leclerc finished 13th after out qualifying teammate Marcus Ericsson for the 13th time this season. The Ferrari bound driver finished 0.7 ahead of teammate Ericsson in 14th.
Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly finished 15th ahead of the second Haas of Kevin Magnussen in 16th who just missed Q2 by 0.030s.
Gasly’s teammate Brendon Hartley qualified 17th and was followed by Stoffel Vandoorne who made contact with the wall at Turn 21 during his lap. Vandoorne finished 0.055s behind Hartley in 18th. Williams qualifying struggles continue with both of their drivers qualifying at the bottom of the order with Sergey Sirotkin in 19th and teammate Lance Stroll in 20th.
The stakes of Sunday’s race couldn’t be any higher for Sebastian Vettel who needs to secure a win tomorrow as he trails Lewis Hamilton by 30 points in the championship.